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Amazon Cloud Adds Hosted MySQL 173

1sockchuck writes "Amazon Web Services has added a relational database service to host MySQL databases in the cloud, and is also dropping prices on its Amazon EC2 compute service by as much as 15 percent. Amazon says the new service lets users focus on development rather than maintenance, but it will probably be bad news for startups offering database services built atop Amazon's cloud. Cloud Avenue warns that Amazon RDS should serve as 'a warning bell for the companies that build their entire business on Amazon ecosystem. ... They are just one announcement away from complete destruction.' Data Center Knowledge has a roundup of analysis and commentary on Amazon RDS and its impact on the cloud ecosystem."
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Amazon Cloud Adds Hosted MySQL

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  • Warning Bell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:16AM (#29882797) Homepage

    I guess the warning bell is, if your business model is to host something simple and obvious on EC2, then resell it, you can expect direct competition - in this case from Amazon themselves.

    To be sustainable, you need to add something difficult, or non-obvious, or that fills a niche, or stands out in some other way.

    Cloud Avenue could still do OK, if they can make their offering better than Amazon's, by whatever means - a nicer UI, better management tools, better customer support, etc.

  • by skgrey ( 1412883 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:17AM (#29882805)
    For a first step, MySQL was the obvious choice and it shows a move in the right direction.

    I do enjoy how everyone is trying to beat down Cloud Computing. It's basically a new technology, and just like every other new technology there are going to be bugs and issues that affect SLA right away. If you are putting all your eggs in the Cloud basket, it's the same as using that brand new bleeding-edge Cisco product or virtualization platform. You have to expect some pain until they hone the "technology".

    Sure there's no good overall definition, and it's become kind of a joke in certain circles, but there are some solid ideas behind clouds. Sometimes I think it's because engineers are more worried about their jobs five years from now, because if clouds do catch on their jobs will be in jeopardy.
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:23AM (#29882873) Homepage

    I'm getting increasingly fed up of every cloud story getting piles of comments deriding cloud as "just" something else.

    - "The Cloud is just another name for datacenter"
    - "The Cloud is just another name for distributed computing"
    - "The Cloud is just another name for thin-client computing"
    - etc.

    In this particular case, yes, the backend of the Amazon cloud is a bunch of datacentres.
    And you could build a virtual datacentre in the Amazon cloud.

    But that doesn't mean that every datacentre is a cloud, because a cloud has properties that most datacentres do not.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:24AM (#29882889)

    In the context you speak of, the new thing is the billing.

    (The ability to use automated systems to quickly add and remove virtual machines is also an advancement from traditional virtual hosting)

  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:27AM (#29882921)

    well i am not IT pro or something, but what exactly is "new" on this cloud?

    The fact that you pay only for what you actually use and the services scales automatically to fit your needs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:31AM (#29882959)

    The Cloud is just a buzz word. It makes non-techies feel clued in without having to understand the differences among a handful of technologies and how they work together.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:32AM (#29882967) Homepage

    If you're buying a physical server from your ISP, that's not a cloud. If you're buying a virtual server, is it hosted dynamically across hundreds or thousands of physical machines? If not, that's not a cloud.

    Now, this probably doesn't matter to you. What you actually care about is price, performance, capacity, availability, resilience, flexibility etc.

    Many believe that running a cloud is the easiest, cheapest way to sell fast, reliable hosting services, which can be commissioned and decommissioned in a very flexible manner. You can buy a VM from Amazon in seconds, and have it running instantly. You can close it down and stop paying just as fast.

    One open question is, should the marketing use the buzzword? You don't actually care that it's in a cloud. You just care about its cost and features. But then again, being told it's in a cloud gives you clues about its features.

  • by base3 ( 539820 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:34AM (#29882975)
    And he forgot "The cloud is just another name for timesharing." The 1960s called; it wants it glass house computing model back.
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:42AM (#29883081) Homepage

    The Cloud is just a buzz word. It makes non-techies feel clued in without having to understand the differences among a handful of technologies and how they work together.

    At first I thought you were contradicting me. But you're not, necessarily.

    "Cake is just a buzz word. It makes non-bakers feel clued in without having to understand the differences among a handful of ingredients and how they work together."

    Combine eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar, flavourings, in just the right recipe, you get a cake.
    Combine datacenter technogolies, virtualisation, parallelisation, timesharing, web based management, in just the right recipe, and you get a cloud.

    This doesn't mean that "cake" or "cloud" aren't useful shorthands.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @09:56AM (#29883227) Homepage
    Pretend that I don't work in marketing, and thus don't enjoy the frisson of hearing new terms for old rope. If one provider offers me "cloud computing" and the other offers "software as a service", what does that tell me about the likely functional differences in their offerings?
  • Re:Warning Bell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @10:17AM (#29883461) Homepage

    If you base your business model on using the services of a bigger company to offer services to your customers, it is just a matter of time until that bigger company decides that they would rather get the money you are making than the money you are paying them.

    There's quite a lot of precedent for smaller companies reselling services from larger companies.

    IBM used to offer EDI interchange services. A lot of the sales were through industry specific resellers. So company X knows about, say, the insurance industry, and sells EDI services to insurers. Company X has its own helpdesk, and only refers the harder questions to IBM. IBM is very happy with this arrangement. The subs roll in month after month. IBM doesn't need to train anyone in the foibles of the insurance industry. Company Y, meanwhile, is reselling the same service to the automotive industry.

    Then there's the thousands of gambling websites that are merely thin rebrandings of the same few underlying sites, which get referral fees. The larger company that writes the software and runs the service is effectively outsourcing consumer marketing, while also protecting themselves from risk.

  • Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tibman ( 623933 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @10:27AM (#29883577) Homepage

    The smallest instance is 11 cents an hour or ~$80 a month. That just seems like a lot to me, atleast for a personal DB. That $80 only gets you a virtual box with "1.7 GB memory, 1 ECU (1 virtual core with 1 ECU), 64-bit platform." with a max of 1 TB storage (also an additional cost). It just doesn't seem worth it, tbh.

    I guess if a company is counting hardware costs, payroll, electricity, and stuff like that.. $80 might be a good deal. But i think most people would rather have a normal server hosted for $10-20 a month.

  • by vagabond_gr ( 762469 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @10:29AM (#29883613)

    If you run your site on a single server then it's much smaller than slashdot, no matter how many cores or ram you have. Also, it means that your site is down much more often than it should. If you want a serious infrastructure with redundancy, EC2 is a quite cheap solution, with many advantages in terms of maintenance and scaling.

  • Re:Warning Bell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Full Metal Jackass ( 998734 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @10:41AM (#29883747) Journal

    So, would Cloud Avenue's business model not be threatened if they hosted the databases on their own physical servers?

  • Re:Optimization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @10:58AM (#29883979) Homepage

    For non-cloud computing, you pay too much every single day, until you reach optimum usage level. Then you exceed the optimum usage level, and have to buy another server, and pay too much again. So it's a series of server-sized steps, approximating a curve.

    If you were paying by the timeslice, the cloud equivalent would show a smooth curve, matching the growth in usage.

    OTOH with EC2 you pay by the hour of uptime, rather than by processor usage, so CPU usage isn't of the essence for many applications.

    You might well optimise to minimise the stuff you really are paying for. Web designers already try to minimise download bandwidth. You might also strive to compress data before storing it -- but as always, it's a tradeoff between how much it saves, and how much it costs to do.

  • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:23AM (#29884303)

    There is a pretty big difference however.

    In your companies case, you are not paying for what you use, you are paying for everything, in a lot of cases up front instead of over time.

    You need to buy servers, their resources (memory, storage, backup media, interconnect system, etc), as well as the datacenter itself (power, cooling, arrangement, management, staff maintenance, bandwidth, etc), and then once everything is up and running functionally, you still have paid for all of those things like servers storage bandwidth and power, no matter if you are using 100% or 1% of your system.

    In amazons case, you don't. You pay for what you use, as you use it, no more no less.
    You don't need to pay upfront costs for servers, the infrastructure to support them, and the people to run them. You DO pay for those things, but only a very tiny percentage of, which happens to be the percentage of their resources or skills you use.

    At least for the moment, it is much cheaper to buy these resources from amazon, than to pay to build up a datacenter to start with 1 or 2 machines, but be able to scale up to millions. That would have such a huge up front cost that it is not even an option for most small businesses.

    There will always be situations where the obvious answer is doing it yourself. This will never change.
    That does not exclude the fact there are other situations where using cloud time sharing is the better answer.

  • Why the confusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maudib ( 223520 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @11:24AM (#29884315)

    I am not sure why people are so confused about what cloud computing means in this context. It is pretty straightforward-

    (1) Yes, the underlying technology is "just" a data-center that you could provision through standard channels.
    (2) Yes, it is "just" a normal MySQL server that you could manage and scale through normal means.

    Now take those above functions, and put them behind an API that we can call into from our software. Could you manage the same things directly? Of course! However there are use cases where being able to control these functions through is very desirable.

    Now take a bunch of other infrastructure resources and put control of them all behind APIs too. One ends up with a very different thing then traditional hosting. You can't provision 100x servers/databases/hadoop nodes for a single hour or night at a traditional host based on some event your software manages, and then pay less then $100. Sure the underlying tools are the same, and there are many traditional use cases where AWS is actually more expensive. However there are an equal number of situations where the reverse is also true.

    As for who owns the data, thats just FUD resulting from an unfortunate overlap in terms with things like Facebook. The AWS TOS and contract is quite clear on who owns the data. Just like any other data center, if you don't secure/encrypt your stuff it is possible for the host to look into it, but this is no more likely in AWS then at Rack Space or Data Pipe.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday October 27, 2009 @12:51PM (#29885455) Homepage

    a cloud has properties that most datacentres do not.

    Like what?

    Like, a single node failing is routine, routed around in software, and not considered a problem. Yes, in a traditional datacentre you'd have dual or treble redundant servers, but if one goes down in the middle of the night it's a crisis and an operator's pager goes off. Not in a cloud.

    Like: Bringing up a new VM, or hundreds of new VMs, is something you can do on a whim. Yes, newer VM-oriented datacentres have the technology to do this, but because of the way they're managed and financed, usually you have to go through a time consuming approval/requisitioning process to even add one VM.

    Like: Dynamic scaling and location. For example, with S3, if your store is getting a lot of hits, you'll benefit from Akamai-like caching wherever in the world Amazon has a presence.

    And more. Anything you can imagine that comes from using a small fraction of a really huge pool of computing resources, spread across the planet.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.